Full disclosure: I haven't seen the game yet. I will watch tonight, but the result is good; very, very good. UB Women's Soccer is 3-0-1 since making a pair of lineup switches two weekends ago, and is on a three-game tear that's seen ten goals from five different players-- an offensive explosion not seen in any three-game stretch since 2001.
Today's win - 3-0 over Central Michigan - came on the final home game of the season before the two most important games yet, both on the road. With goals from Julia Benati, Celina Carrero, and freshman Nicole Gerritz, the Bulls rolled again, scoring early, adding an insurance marker before the first half ended, and putting icing on the cake in the final five minutes.
The defense was once again outstanding, and I'm sure I'll see on the replay that even Central's six shots were less threatening than they feel in the box score. CMU had little to speak of, period, putting only four shots on goal and earning just two corner kicks. Laura Dougall naturally earned the shutout, the 20th of her career. She's now tied with Ainsley Wheldon for second all-time at UB, is just one back of Jaime Adams for the record, and has more than half her career remaining.
The win also goes a long way to ensuring the Bulls get a home game in the MAC Quarterfinals: CMU and Buffalo were tied coming into today's action, and Kent State was close behind, as well. Now UB has the head to head tiebreaker on both and is three points clear of Central and one of Kent.
I've felt since August that the top tier of the MAC was clear in the foursome of Buffalo, Miami, Western Michigan, and Ball State. With three games to play, that's the group atop the conference now, and UB was helped today by a gutty performance from Northern Illinois to tie the Redhawks, drawing the Bulls into a first-place tie in the East.
While Kent State and Central Michigan are not far behind, UB's got shutouts of both on their ledger that should highlight the drop off after the lead group. Of course, Ball State is the only one without a loss outside of the top four, and both the Cardinals and Broncos are unlikely to fall to #5 or below, but UB is peaking at the right time and with two meaningful games left could still improve their standing.
I'll have the regular Film Study post, plus more on this game and MAC Seeding concerns tomorrow or Tuesday.